Analytical aspects of the debt problems of heavily indebted poor countries
A group of heavily indebted low-income countries (HIPCs), most in Sub-Saharan Africa, has continued to experience external debt problems. Because the HIPCs'economic characteristics and external imbalances are very different from those of middle-income countries, the analysis of debt problems and debt-reduction must be modified and complemented in important ways. Therefore, the authors revisit the methodological issues underlying debt sustainability analysis, as well as theory and empirical evidence on how large debts affect economic performance. Their main question is: Should consideration be given to more upfront debt reduction for HIPCs, over and above that provided under current mechanisms, or should debts continue to be refinanced, subject to conditionality? Ongoing refinancing with conditionality reduces moral hazard and gives countries an incentive to maintain good policies. However, this approach entails transition costs, can create uncertainty, may lack credibility, and can impede local ownership of reform programs. Upfront debt reduction can create moral hazard problems and may weaken the incentives for maintaining sound policy. There are theoretical arguments about why a high level of debt can impede investment and policy reform. Although empirical evidence concerning the hypothesis that HIPCs suffer significant adverse effects from their large debt overhang is inconclusive, evidence from middle-income countries suggests that debt reduction can benefit an economy if the policy environment is right. Whether there should be further debt reduction for specific heavily indebted low-income countries depends on the facts for each case and requires quantitative analysis of data about different forces at play in the countries involved.
|Date of creation:||30 Jun 1996|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433|
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jonathan Eaton & Raquel Fernandez, 1995.
Boston University - Institute for Economic Development
59, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
- Claessens, Stijn & Oks, Daniel & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1993.
"Interest rates, growth, and external debt : the macroeconomic impact of Mexico's Brady deal,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
1147, The World Bank.
- Claessens, Stijn & Oks, Danel & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1994. "Interest Rates, Growth and External Debt: The Macroeconomic Impact of Mexico's Brady Deal," CEPR Discussion Papers 904, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Johnson, J.H. & Wasty, S.S., 1993. "Borrower Ownership of Adjustment Programs and the Political Economy of Reform," World Bank - Discussion Papers 199, World Bank.
- Borensztein, Eduardo, 1990. "Debt overhang, credit rationing and investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 315-335, April.
- Detragiache, Enrica, 1992. "The simple dynamics of a debt crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 552-566, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1618. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.